Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station

ErnieMac

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I recently completed Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station: The Army of the Potomac's First Post-Gettysburg Offensive, From Kelly's Ford to the Rapidan, October 21 to November 20, 1863.

This is the third of a four book series written by Jeffrey Wm. Hunt that details the operations of the Armies of the Potomac and Northern Virginia in the aftermath of Gettysburg. The narrative starts at the end of the Bristoe Station Campaign (the subject of book two of the series) and reviews the status and plans of the two armies and their commanders at that time. Hunt then provides accounts of the AoP movement and the Confederate response culminating in detailed descriptions of the fighting at Kelly's Ford and Rappahannock Station on November 7 that resulted in the withdrawal of Lee's army across the Rapidan River in the next few days. Of particular interest to me is the virtual destruction of BG Harry Hays Louisiana brigade usually known as the Louisiana Tigers.

Hunt's style is consistent with that of his previous books. It is detailed, but easily readable. Numerous maps along with drawings and photographs are interspersed through the book. The maps showing movements are at the corps and division level while the battle maps are shown at the regimental level. The author provides analysis of the actions of the lead participants of the campaign, outlining their successes and failures as appropriate. The analysis of Meade and Sedgwick were of particular interest to me. As this portion of Civil War history is usually covered in a few paragraphs at most, I find this book to be a welcome addition to my library. I am looking forward to the final book of the series covering the Mine Run Campaign, but expect I'll be waiting for a year or two.
 
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Jamieva

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This one is equally good and sheds light on a subject that has received even less coverage than those covered by the previous books.

I highly recommend the 1st 2 in the series. Hunt does a great job of focusing on a time period that gets very little written coverage. Gettysburg ends and we fast forward to the Wilderness.
 

cptjeff36

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Jul 19, 2017
Thanks for the review and all the kind words from other posters. I am please that so many of like this book and the series. Meade and Lee at Mine Run should be out in 2022. After that I plan a follow on volume which will look at the cavalry actions of Aug, Sept and Oct. in far greater detail than I had space for in the series so far. I've discovered a lot of remarkable information on those fights and am looking forward to sharing it with readers. Working title is Stuart and Pleasonton After Gettysburg, but that could change.
 

rpkennedy

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I think you'll find it worthwhile. The entire campaigning post-Gettysburg through Mine Run hasn't gotten the necessary detailed coverage until very recently but the subject matter of this volume has really gone "under the radar". It's an important contribution.
Agreed. I thoroughly enjoyed the other two volumes and I'm sure this one will be just as worthwhile and enjoyable to read.

Ryan
 

Joshism

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I read the first half of this over the summer, got sidetracked on other (unrelated) books, and finally finished it up this month. I found the decision to split Rappahannock Station off from the Mine Run book is justified. This book manages to offer a detailed tactical study of Kelly's Ford and Rappahannock Station while also covering the issues of strategy, logistics, and leadership surrounding the offensive and what might have been.

I was particularly fascinated by the idea that if events had gone different ways there are three different versions of the Battle of Culpepper we might have gotten yet in reality we got no battle at all.
 
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